What to do when your friend wants to be your co-worker


It is common knowledge that networking and asking your contacts for referrals gives you the upper hand when looking for a job.

But what about when your friends ask you to refer them for the opening at the company you work for? You might want to stop and think before you drop their name.

It may seem simple to put in a good word for a friend. Recommending a friend could help your career, but it could also do some serious damage. Don’t forget that when you recommend someone their job performance, whether good or bad, is ultimately reflected on you in some way or another.

Here are some scenarios to keep in mind the next time you’re asked to hook a friend up with a job.

Picture perfect

When your friend turns out to be an excellent fit for the company and does well, your boss and co-workers will start to see you as someone with a good judge of character. This will help you to further your career and may even lead to more co-workers and managers asking for your opinion. In this scenario everyone is happy.

A slippery slope

A good situation can quickly spiral out of control when your relationship with your friend starts to isolate you or them from your other co-workers. It can be easy to give your long-time friends more opportunities and attention than everyone else in the office. Just think back to your playground days: when others start feeling left out, it can lead to jealousy and resentment.

When looks are deceiving

Now think about if your friend seems to be the perfect fit for the company but only because you are working overtime to keep your boss and your friend happy. Again, when you recommend someone you are confirming their work ethic and if it isn’t consistent with what you said your boss may look negatively on you. This can cause you to start doing their work to prevent a negative impact on you. Not to mention you will probably start to hold some resentment toward that person, which will not help your own performance on the job or your friendship.

What you should look for

Before you put your name on the line for a friend, understand how your friend’s personality might affect their work ethic. Friends who are always asking you for favours or who fail to follow through on plans may make for poor co-workers.

On the other hand, friends who enjoy working hard and who prefer taking on new assignments by themselves are probably people you can refer without worrying that you will have to pick up the slack.

If you recommend any friend who asks without taking the time to consider their strengths and weaknesses, you are setting yourself up for workplace problems. We all work hard to create an image that will allow us to move up in our fields, and when you don’t take the time to protect that image it can easily be ruined. You do not want to be caught in a situation where your word can no longer be trusted and your judgment is in question.

Have you ever been asked by a friend to hook them up with a job at the company you work for? How did you handle the situation? What was the outcome? Would you do anything differently in the future?